Gender: Male Age: 21 Location: N/A
|Introduction: Not my Storie All credit Goes to Eric Storm|
Don woke up the next morning, his sister cuddled up to one side of him, and Julie cuddled up to the other side of him. He was lying on his robe with no clothes on, but with two women this close to him, he was far from cold. He hugged them both. Julie woke up first, and he kissed her warmly.
"Good morning," he said softly. She smiled at him.
"Thank you so much," she said. "I don't know what I'd do without you boys... especially you." She kissed him again, more vigorously.
"You planning to share?" Kate asked from his other side. Don broke their kiss, but Julie didn't let him go just yet. She kissed him one more time before getting up to get dressed.
"Now you can have him," she said with a smile. Katie stuck out her tongue at Julie, but then Don took her tongue into his mouth. She kissed him hotly, and the two necked for some time before bothering to get up. Finally, though, they both felt the urgent call of nature, and they had to break apart, rising to begin another day in Hell.
After breakfast, Don and Gill discussed how to handle the day.
"Did you spot anything last night?" he asked Gill.
"Nope. Not even any of those wolves. I did hear some of them in the distance. I also heard a scream from the tent last night. Just what were you doing to her?"
"Bad dream," he said. "I hope she gets over it."
"Yeah. So, we're going in there?" Gill said, staring at the path into the forest.
"That's where Annie is."
"Good morning," Baruek said to Annie as her head came off her knees. She moved slowly because she was sore, stiff and quite disinclined to cause herself more pain.
She finally realized that Baruek was holding a small cup of something under her nose. She took it and thanked him. She didn't know what it was at first, but then recognized the taste of tea.
"How did you make this out here?"
"I made a very small fire. When you travel alone, you learn to be very careful."
"I can imagine."
"Are you going to be up to walking out of here today? I'd like to meet up with your friends as soon as we can."
"Only one way for us to find that out, really." Annie grabbed her walking stick and pulled herself up on it. She was surprised to find that a good deal of her strength had returned. How did I avoid getting hurt by that fall? She marveled over her good luck, but she knew she still needed the walking stick. Her leg was hurting her, and she would use the staff to keep some weight off it. Turning to Baruek, she said, "I think I'll be okay, for the most part. We're probably going to be slow, though."
"Slow is better than not at all. Which way do you think they would go to enter the forest?"
She pointed toward the south. "Don wouldn't go backwards unless he had no other choice. They'll get down off the mountain, and then come back for me from that way."
"Okay. Then we'll walk that way, and hope to meet up with them. It would be only a day's walk out of here for an uninjured person... it could take us a day and a half."
"Unless Don finds us."
"Let's get going, then."
After packing up their stuff, the group gathered for a final meeting before heading into the forest.
"Susan, I want you to stay close to Julie. Kate, you're our scout again. Gill, you get to protect our ass again." Gill chuckled at the joke. "We need to keep our eyes open; we all know how much fun forests in this place are." They still remembered Don nearly being killed by a forest cat on their journey to Castle Ballor. "Any comments or suggestions?"
"Only let's get this show on the road," Gill said.
"Okay. Katie?" Don asked, motioning her forward.
Katie took off, and flew slowly into the forest. The group followed close behind her.
The group walked for interminable hours. There was no conversation, only a fast walk. They were still able to gauge about how far they were from where Annie had fallen. It was their hope that she was still there, or, if she was moving, that she was moving toward them on the path. As such, they moved more rapidly than they normally would, hoping to find her as quickly as possible in this dangerous place.
They did take the time to stop for lunch, resting at a place on the path that had some larger rocks. They picked some of the berries they saw, which were familiar to them from their first journey in Zemlia Nov. Again, little was said among them; they were focused on the job at hand. That made hearing the approaching pair much easier.
Don was on his feet in an instant, and he heard the soft sliding of steel against leather as Gill drew his sword. Susan had her bow in her hand, and her other hand was ready to grab an arrow, but she hadn't drawn one yet; she needed to know which kind she needed first.
The pair cleared a bend in the path, and the group saw them. Don instantly recognized Annie, and took immediate note of her limp, and the staff she was using to walk. The other person was unfamiliar, though the green cloak he was wearing did tingle in the back of Don's mind, trying to awaken a memory.
Gill noticed it, too, and he stepped over to Don, whispering something in his ear. Gill's words helped Don's memory click, and he nodded. Gill stepped away from Don, further to the side. None of them moved, waiting for the pair to reach the clearing.
Annie smiled and waved when she saw Don. She had expected him to come forward to greet her, but figured he wanted to wait until she had reached the small clearing they were standing in. She increased her pace as much as she could, and Baruek, eager to be under the protection of an obviously well-armed group, followed suit.
Once she reached the clearing, Don stepped forward, and she ran toward him, ignoring the intense pain that caused. She threw her arms around him, and hugged him furiously. He kissed her on the cheek as they continued to hug.
"Are you all right?" he asked sincerely, after their embrace was over. She nodded at him, wordlessly thankful at being back with her friends. He stepped back, helping her over to a large rock, where she sat down. Next, he turned to the man she had been with.
"My name is Baruek, I-"
"Susan!" Don snapped. Instantly, her hand chose an arrow with a nasty-looking tip, and she nocked it to her bow, aiming for the man's head.
"Don!" Annie said in alarm, unaware of what was going on. Baruek raised his hands in supplication. Don held up one finger to quiet Annie, letting her know without an explanation that more was going on than she understood.
"Is this the way you thank people for helping your friends?" Baruek asked, his voice quivering.
"The Elf-crystal. Now." Don's voice was cold and calculating. The Elves had helped him before, and more importantly, they had saved Annie. He would repay this favor to them.
Baruek wasn't going to make that easy, however. "I don't know what you're talking about," he lied.
"Susan, convince the gentleman to cooperate." Susan's response was an arrow that sang through the air and embedded itself into a tree half a foot from where Baruek was standing.
"The only reason you're still alive," Don said, "is because you helped Annie. If you wish to remain alive, you will hand over the Elf-crystal. I can take it from you after killing you, if you'd prefer."
Baruek could see that he had no way out of this with both his life and his booty. He slowly lowered his right hand, and reached around behind his back. Susan leveled an arrow at his head, and he froze, gulping in fear.
"Go ahead," she said to him, "but it had better not be a weapon you're reaching for."
Baruek nodded in little, jerky movements. He was terrified of these people, who were obviously willing and quite able to kill him to retrieve the crystal for the Elves. His hand moved past his knife, which he had never been reaching for, since he was not that foolish, and to the pouch that held the large gem. His fingers fumbled with the tie on the pouch, and he eventually managed to extract the crystal. He slowly brought his hand around front, to show the others what he was holding.
"Gill," Don said, nodding to him to be careful. Gill stepped forward and laid the blade of his sword on the man's shoulder. With his other hand, he reached for the crystal. Baruek could have been a statue for all he was moving. Gill could tell he was barely breathing at this point. Gill took the crystal and stepped back away from Baruek. He moved in the direction of Don, never taking his eyes off his enemy.
Don took the proffered crystal, and as soon as it touched his hand, the sapphire gem began to glow brightly. Don nearly dropped it in surprise. Even Baruek looked shocked that it had done that. Don regained his composure, and turned back to Baruek.
"Because you saved Annie, and brought her back to us, I'm going to let you go. Don't ever let us meet again, because this is the only time I'm going to let you go."
Baruek turned and bolted back down the path. It was only seconds before he disappeared. Susan put her arrow away, and Gill sheathed his sword, while Don went over to Annie and hugged her again.
"Are you really okay?" he asked, concern filling his voice. She nodded.
"He was a bad guy?" she asked.
"I didn't know... I..." she thought about it for a moment. "He might have tried to steal my sword, but he couldn't get it loose. He said he was going to use it to help him build a sled to pull me out of here."
"No need to worry about him. Hungry?" he asked, offering her some food. She grabbed for it; berries were not something to live off.
The group rested for a few hours at the clearing, letting Annie recuperate from her morning's walk. Don looked at her leg, and cast a healing spell, but since he couldn't really find what was wrong, the spell was very general. Annie felt somewhat better, but it was still tender to walk on it.
"I'm so glad you came back for me," she said to Don. "I was worried I'd be lost here forever."
"There was never any doubt about us coming back for you," Don said, glancing at Gill out of the corner of his eye.
"I was also worried about what happened to you," she said quietly.
"I caught a rock on the way down. I was able to make it back to the road. I'm sorry, I should have realized that Dan-Gelmer or maybe even Denonia might attack us like that. This was my fault."
Annie brought her hand up to Don's cheek. "It's okay. I'm still in one piece. And you did rescue me." She leaned forward, and the pair kissed softly. Everyone else studiously ignored them, to give them a little privacy.
When the group did finally start walking, they did so slowly, so that Annie could keep up. Don considered the idea of creating a litter for her to be carried on, but he decided that she might be offended by that, and it would be almost as slow, anyway. Instead, he walked with her, making sure she didn't stumble or trip on anything. While they were walking, Don related the events she had missed, so that she would be aware of everything that had happened.
The group continued to walk after nightfall, even though they knew this to be a dangerous thing to do. They wanted to be out of the forest, and they hadn't made it there yet. Don figured another two hours of walking before they'd reach the campsite they'd used the night before. He could see that Annie was horribly tired, and he worried about that, but he needed to get them out of the forest for the safety of the entire group. There was no room here to fend off anything that might attack them. At least on the grasslands, they had room to maneuver.
Annie did not complain during their trek, though she was dead on her feet. Every step was painful, and it was difficult to keep herself going. Don's presence was a comfort, and she was pushing herself because she knew that he wouldn't be asking her to if it wasn't important. She concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other, and just kept walking.
When the group finally emerged from the forest, Annie was ready to collapse. Don led her over to a soft spot, and helped her to sit on the ground. She immediately lay down, and curled up into a ball. Within seconds, she was asleep.
"Katie, keep an eye on her," Don said. Katie nodded, and went over to sit by Annie. Katie was glad that they'd found Annie, not just because she was a friend, but because she could see the difference in Don's attitude. Before he had been worried and anxious. Now, she could see the determination return to his gaze. He was looking ahead again, trying to get them out of here. She stared lovingly at him while he and Gill went about putting up the tent. The two decided to literally erect the tent around the two girls, so that Annie would not have to be moved far. It took them less time to do it this night, having learned the process the night before. Finally, it was up. Don put a sleeping mat down on the ground next to Annie, and he merely rolled her over onto it. She didn't stir.
Dawn broke the next morning with all the signs of a stormy day ahead. This weather was all too familiar to the team, and each of them grumbled to themselves about it. Katie was the most fearful, and she got out her wet-weather gear and put it on. She vividly remembered the storm during their first walk, and the only good thing about it was how close it had brought her to her brother. Since she didn't figure she could get any closer, she didn't want to be wet, cold, and miserable again.
Rousting Annie was difficult, though she had slept all the way through the night. There had been no suggestion that she would stand guard duty like the rest had; she needed to recover from her injuries. When they did get her up, she was stiff, but found that her leg felt a good deal better than it had. The long period of restfulness had allowed Don's spell to do its work, and she found that she could walk on it with very little discomfort. She knew, however, that it was likely to still slow her down. That meant that it would slow down everyone else, and that upset her greatly.
Don, seeing the look on her face, walked over and put his arm around her. "Don't worry about it, Annie. We'll be okay."
"I'm causing you all sorts of problems," she said. It had been her worst fear, and it was coming true in spades.
Don shrugged. "That's life. I'd still rather have you with us." He kissed her on the cheek, and she smiled slightly. He had a way of making her feel better just by talking to her, and it only deepened her love for him.
Gill walked over to them, and said, "So, where are we going?"
"Sheridan. The Elf city."
"We have to return the crystal to them. Plus, we need to get supplies, and it's the closest city to us."
"Fair enough. Which way?"
"Katie? Head for that mountain. Whenever you're ready."
The group was only an hour into their journey when the rain came. It was another torrent, and it made their traveling miserable. Don stayed close to Annie this time, to make sure she would not slip in the slick, muddy soil. Katie kept her feet off the ground, leading the group by about a hundred yards. She occasionally flew back to make sure everyone was okay, and then she would lead on again.
The group stopped for lunch when they reached a small stand of trees. Don did a very careful check of those trees, since it seemed odd for such a small clump of trees to be out in the middle of the grasslands. Finding nothing, he decided to sit down and eat. He sat with Annie, while Julie and Katie sat together, and of course Gill and Susan were chatting with each other. The group was much more upbeat now that they were a complete team again. Even the rain didn't dampen their spirits entirely.
"How much farther to Sheridan?" Annie asked Don.
"I'm not entirely sure. I'm hoping we'll reach it before dark. Otherwise, we'll have to spend another night in the grasslands. I don't like being out here. Dan-Gelmer can find us from ten miles away out here. And there would be nowhere to hide.
"Has he attacked again since that first time?"
"No. And that's really weird. I expected another attack on the mountain road... or especially out here on the plains... but nothing. It's very odd. I don't know what to make of it."
"Maybe the dungeon master is busy elsewhere," Gill called out with a laugh. The group laughed with him, but the thought actually stuck with Don.
What if he's right?
The rain had continued for most of the day, but it was now tapering off. The group had continued their walk, silently trudging along the muddy path to Sheridan. Annie's leg was beginning to hurt, though it had stood up all day. Now, she was looking forward to sunset, when they would stop for the day.
Suddenly, Katie flew up higher into the sky. She stayed there for several seconds, and then she swooped down on a path that brought her back to them.
"There's a city in the distance. I can see the lights."
"How far, do you figure?" Don asked.
"I'm not sure. It's in a valley, so I can see quite a ways. Maybe another hour's walk."
"Well, that's got to be Sheridan. We'll keep walking until we get there." He looked at Annie and asked, "Can you make it?"
"Since I'm not letting you leave me behind, you bet!" she said with more confidence than she felt.
Don laughed, and hugged her tightly. He then turned to Katie and said, "Let's go."
It eventually took them an hour and a half to reach the town, and everyone was growing tired by the time they got there. They were about to walk onto the main street, when they were accosted by an Elf guard.
"Halt!" the guard said.
"Haialani," Don said to him. "We need to see your leader."
"Queen Neiela is not available at the moment," the guard said harshly. Don didn't understand his attitude, but pressed on, anyway.
"Is there someone else we can speak to? Myrtacor, perhaps?"
"Yes, he is here. What is your business with him?"
"I have something to return to the Elves."
"Very well, follow me." The guard walked down the street until he reached a small hut. He leaned his head in and said something in an indecipherable tongue, and then he continued leading them down the road. Don had expected something more intricate or magical from the Elfin city. The walk did not take them long, but they saw many people along the route. All of them looked worried. Don didn't know if that was because of their presence, or if something else was causing it.
Katie was greeted more than once by young Elf girls. She smiled at them and waved, but they were in a hurry, so they couldn't stop to chat. Even some of the shopkeepers smiled at her. Don was glad she was along, or the worried expressions would have been overwhelming. At least one of them was welcome here.
The Elf guard turned suddenly, and walked into a larger building, made of stone and mud. The group followed. The inside of the building was more ornate than the outside would have allowed one to believe. Standing on the far side of the large room they had entered was the Elf they recognized as Myrtacor. The Elf guard told them to wait where they were, and he went over to speak with Myrtacor.
Myrtacor came over to the group. He looked up at Don with distaste.
"Haialani," Don said in greeting.
"Now is not a good time for you to be here, human. Why do you wish to see Queen Neiela, anyway?"
Don quietly chanted a spell, and a small pouch appeared in his hand. "I have something to return to you. Koatri told me that this had been stolen." Don reached in and grasped the Elf-crystal. When he brought it out, it was glowing brightly.
Myrtacor immediately took a step back in awe. The other Elves all turned to stare in shock. The crystal sat calmly in Don's hand, glowing as brightly as any lantern.
"How did you get that?" Myrtacor asked, shielding his eyes somewhat.
"We ran across the man who stole it from you and... asked for it back."
"I see. Could you please put it away? It is hurting my eyes."
Don slipped the crystal back into the pouch, and held it out for Myrtacor to take. Myrtacor physically shrank from the bag. He shook his head.
"Only Queen Neiela can accept that back from you. Other Elves are forbidden to possess the Elf-crystal."
"Well... can I see her, or when will she be available?"
"Queen Neiela has been kidnapped, Human. We are trying to devise a plan to rescue her now."
"Is there any way we can help?" Don asked immediately.
"Don..." Gill protested. Don waved him off; the Elves had helped them, and he would help the Elves, if they would let him.
"Not unless you can tell us where she is being kept. We do not know in which one of many keeps Denonia has secreted her away."
"Perhaps I can help with that. Do you have a large black kettle?"
"If you fill it with water, perhaps I can use it to find her. I can't promise anything, because I've never done it before, but I do know how."
"Very well, Human. Come this way."
The group was led back into the kitchen, where a large cooking kettle was placed on the floor, and water was poured into it until it was three-quarters full. Don asked them to extinguish all but one of the lanterns in the room, and then he closed his eyes to begin the chant.
After a full minute of chanting, he opened his eyes. He at first saw nothing, but he kept muttering the spell softly under his breath. Eventually, the image formed, and he saw the female Elf that had been riding with the WolfRiders when they had brought Annie to him. He didn't know that she was the leader.
The image pulled back to reassure him that he was seeing the right thing. She was chained to a wall in what appeared to be a dungeon, except that it had windows. Looking out one of the windows, Don saw that they were high off the ground: a tower. He moved out, through the window, and saw the land around it. He saw a river, and mountains in the distance. He memorized everything that he saw, before the image finally faded into nothingness.
Myrtacor was standing on the other side of the room, away from the scene of magic. Don looked up at him, and nodded. The lanterns were relit as the group left the room.
"Myrtacor, I thought Elves were magical. Shouldn't you have many people who could have done what I just did?"
"Without the Elf-crystal, we cannot handle magic. When the queen replaces the Elf-crystal in the Chamber of Eyes, we will once again be magical. Until then, magic is dangerous to us."
"Oh. Well, I found her, sort of. I saw the castle she's being held in, but since I've never seen it before..."
"Describe the surroundings to me."
For the next five minutes, Don related everything of the landscape he could remember. Myrtacor eliminated castle after castle as Don kept describing. Eventually, they had only one option left.
"Castle Shandor. I should have known. It is protected by the griffin."
"Myrtacor, I know we are only Humans, but we would like to help you rescue Queen Neiela."
Myrtacor looked at him for a long moment in silence. "Anyone who can wield the Elf-crystal's power is someone we can make use of. Your friends may also be of help. The Elfling, however, may not accompany us. If she were to be hurt, my life would be forfeited upon return to Sheridan."
"I would also like Julie and Annie to remain behind," Don said immediately.
"Don," Annie said, beginning to protest. Don cut her off.
"You're still healing. Going to this castle and possibly fighting a griffin is not something you need to be doing. You need to rest."
Annie nodded, but still was not happy with the decision.
"Don, how is this going to get us home?" Gill asked, irritated at having his mission derailed, again, by the idea of trying to rescue someone.
"Because I'm not going home with this Elf-crystal, and I can't give the Elf-crystal to anyone but the queen, and I can't give it to the queen until we rescue the queen. Got it?"
Gill sighed. "Fine. Let's get going."
"It's sort of dark outside, Gill." Don turned to Myrtacor. "We leave in the morning?"
"Aye. Duncan will show you to quarters. Get your rest; you'll need it."
The team was truly tired. After eating their evening meal, all of them went immediately to sleep. The physical exertion of walking this land was hard enough, but the stress of always having to be on guard took its toll far more quickly. Don's last considered thought of the night was that he hoped they'd be out of Zemlia Nov soon.
When he awoke in the morning, it was still dark outside. It was rare that he would awaken voluntarily before sunrise, but then he didn't know how early he had gone to bed; it could have been only eight o'clock. He felt well-rested, and so he decided to get up. He dressed, and stepped out of their quarters into the still morning air. He sensed movement in the building across the street, where the Elves were preparing for their rescue mission. Don walked across and entered the building.
Myrtacor was still there, preparing the mission anxiously. Don sensed that something was wrong. He walked over to the head elf, and asked him.
"We have a problem," Myrtacor said. "Dan-Gelmer is causing trouble in other parts of the lands we protect. The WolfRiders must work elsewhere. I had hoped to use them to rescue the queen, but now, I cannot even be part of that mission. I am going to have to count on you, Human. I will send a team of Elves with you, but they are second-rank fighters. The trouble with Dan-Gelmer will require all of our first-rank fighters to participate. Denonia has brought the trolls down off the mountains, and they are attacking villages. If you cannot rescue Queen Neiela, she will be stuck where she is for many months, I am afraid."
"Myrtacor, does it strike you as odd that this all happened just at the point where we showed up in Sheridan?"
"What are you suggesting, Human?"
"Might Denonia be doing this because of us?"
Myrtacor glared at Don for a moment. "It is a possibility I have not had the time or energy to consider. Denonia does what Denonia wants. Why she does these things isn't important to me at the moment. If she is doing it because of you, then it rests squarely on your head to rescue the queen. Now, this team will be ready in an hour. When will you leave?"
"We will leave when they are ready. Are we walking?"
"We have borrowed horses from a nearby village. Try to keep them alive, or we will have to pay for them." Myrtacor walked away to yell at some of the other Elves. Don stepped out of the building to roust the others. He saw Gill standing outside, and motioned him over.
"What's up?" Gill asked.
"Get everyone up. We leave in an hour. Gill," Don called, stopping him, as he had already turned to go. "We're doing this alone. The WolfRiders have to deal with the dragon. They're sending some Elves with us, but we'll be leading this mission."
Gill turned and stepped back up to Don. "Why are we really doing this? Certainly they can rescue her without us. We could leave the crystal somewhere here in the city, and she could pick it up when she gets back."
"Gill, don't you find it strange that Baruek finds Annie, and walks right into our hands, which makes us come to Sheridan just at the time when the person we need to give the crystal back to needs rescuing just at the time when the WolfRiders can't rescue her?"
Gill's eyes narrowed, and he remained silent, thinking over what Don had just said.
"Don't you see? All of this is our fault! Denonia is doing this to challenge us!"
"Why would she want to?" Gill asked.
"I don't know. Maybe she has some plot to kill us in some ritual manner or something. All I know is that all of the shit that's happening to these people is because we're here. Since that's the case, it's up to us to fix it. We also need to be aware that we are almost certainly walking into a trap."
"Wonderful. I'm going to go wake up my sister, before you give me any more 'good news'."
The team left just after the sun broke over the mountains to the east. The Elves seemed to be uncomfortable on horseback, but the others were glad to have them. It was supposed to be a half-day ride to get to Castle Shandor. That didn't leave Don with a good feeling; it meant they would most likely spend the night somewhere in the wilderness, with the queen. That assumed, of course, that they rescued her.
The group rode on, mostly in silence, though Don and Gill talked at length about ways to defeat a griffin. It was hard for them to come up with a plan, though, since they had never encountered, or ever even seen, a real griffin. The Elves rode behind the Humans in total silence, gripping their horses and keeping their heads turning, looking for trouble. It was clear they did not like being in the forest, on a horse, riding into danger.
Some fighters, Don thought.
The group stopped for lunch in a small meadow, to allow the horses to eat. They got out their own lunches, and sat down in the grass, enjoying their meal.
"Damn sight easier going than the last few days," Gill said.
"It will get harder," one of the Elves said.
"What's your name?" Don asked.
"Devlin," the Elf answered.
"How big is the griffin?"
"It has the body of a lion. It is not an oversized animal, but it is fast, and it is fierce, and it is usually hungry."
"What kind of tail does it have?" Gill asked. Don looked at him funny. "The myths say that sometimes the griffin has the tail of a snake, or even of a scorpion."
"Not in this case," the Elf assured them. "It has a normal lion's tail. Its claws are longer than normal, however, and they are very sharp. Its beak is large, and razor-sharp. It can fly faster than these horses can run."
"Wonderful," Gill said. "How do we beat it?"
"To my knowledge, it has never been beaten. It has only been avoided or fought off long enough to get past it."
"More good news," Gill said sarcastically.
"We'll think of something. What about Castle Shandor?"
"It is protected like any other castle. It has a moat. It has guards. We are unlikely to succeed, with such a small force as this."
"Why the fuck did Myrtacor send us out with this little bitty team?" Gill wanted to know.
"Probably to get rid of us once and for all," Don said. "He doesn't like us much."
"Well, we're only Humans, after all, eh, Devlin?" Gill said.
Devlin twitched, but remained silent. Don considered everything, but kept his peace about it.
The forest began to thin out during the early afternoon, and soon they broke into the clear. They could see Castle Shandor in the distance, high on a hill. Its twin towers rose like spires into the sky, and Don wondered just how high they were. More importantly, he was concerned about knowing which tower Queen Neiela was in.
They were trotting along quickly when his horse suddenly reared up in fear, nearly throwing Don to the ground. He held on for dear life, and screamed, "What's the matter?"
The horse wouldn't take another step, and that's when Don realized what the problem was. He jumped from his horse, and motioned the others to do the same. "Which way?" he asked the horse, not really expecting an answer. He was surprised when the horse turned to face off to their left. There was a stand of trees that way, and he couldn't see anything past it. He was just going to have to take the horse's word for it.
"What's up?" Gill said, coming up beside Don.
"The griffin's here." Those words sent a wave of fear through their Elf warriors, and Gill drew his sword. Susan drew an arrow with her largest hunting tip on it. The Elves drew their swords, but he didn't know what use those would be against an animal like the griffin. Once again, it looked to be Susan and himself who would have to ward off this creature.
The group heard a loud, menacing screech from the direction of the trees, and Don knew immediately that it was no eagle. The griffin swooped at treetop level, coming over them at fifty miles an hour. The animal circled, and it landed a hundred yards away. It screeched at them again, and they could see the glint of the sun off the razor edge of its beak. Its wings were spread, up and out, to reveal a twenty-foot wingspan. Don moved over next to Susan.
"Susan, aim for a wing. If we can keep it from flying, killing it will be easier."
Susan took careful aim at the animal, and let her arrow fly. The animal quickly dodged to its right, landing fifty feet from his original spot. The griffin prowled back toward its landing site, and returned to glaring at them. It was clear that the animal was blocking their path forward.
As Susan nocked another arrow, Don began a speed chant. He was enchanting the arrow with magical speed. When he nodded to Susan, she let the arrow fly, and it soared at three times normal speed. Still, the griffin leapt out of the way with plenty of time to spare. Once again, it casually sauntered back to its original spot.
"One more time, Susan. This time, aim for the head. Perhaps we can nick it in one of its wings when it jumps."
"You got it." Susan strung her third arrow, and let it fly. The animal jumped aside easily.
"Well, who wants to go tackle it with a sword?" Don said lightly. Everyone could tell he was joking; no one wanted to approach the griffin.
"Didn't you see the pattern?" Gill asked.
"Huh? What pattern?"
"The griffin always jumps to its right. It hasn't yet jumped left."
"Okay... let's see, how can we use that? Hmmm."
"We need a second archer," Susan said.
"Not a second archer, just a second projectile," Gill responded.
Don nodded. "Like a magic energy ball. Gotcha. Okay." Don began his chant, and held his hands just so. When he had enough energy formed, he nodded to Susan. Susan let her arrow fly. This had to work, because it was the last large hunting tip she had. The griffin jumped to the right again, but this time, as the animal was in mid-hop, Don let loose with his energy ball. The animal saw it, and tried to take flight, but it didn't have the time to build up lift. The energy ball slammed into the animal's front legs, and the griffin went down.
Don screamed, "Go! Get it before it can get back up!"
Gill led the charge, screaming, "Let's get that sonofabiiiiiiiiiitch!" The Elves followed behind him, but it was clear that they were less enthusiastic about it than he was. Gill covered the hundred yards in less than seven seconds, just as the creature was struggling back to its feet. Gill dove toward the animal, holding his sword out to his side. The blade sliced cleanly into the right foreleg of the griffin. The animal collapsed again, unable to stand on only two good legs and a shaky one. It tried to rise, but the blast from Don's magic had left it weak. A small-tipped arrow found its way into the animal's neck.
The Elves, seeing their chance, charged at the beast, hacking away at it crazily and clumsily. Gill rose from his spot on the ground, and marched up to the beast. The Elves backed away to make room, and Gill plunged his sword straight into the creature's chest, piercing its heart. The griffin let out one final, horrible screech of pain, and then it fell, dead, on the grass.
"Can't be beaten, huh!" Gill exulted. "Take that you mythical pain in the ass!"
Even the Elves cheered that. Don laughed at his friend, who had finally gotten a taste of combat. He was surprised at the move that Gill had chosen; if he'd missed, he could have been seriously hurt. Still, that was probably the nature of a warrior, which Don was certainly not.
"Nice job," Don said, coming up to him.
"Hell, yeah!" Gill screamed, still high on adrenaline. His sister came over and they hugged in warrior fashion. The entire team was ecstatic about their victory. Don was worried; after seeing the way the Elves fought, or rather, didn't fight, he was concerned about their usefulness when they got to the castle. He tried to set the thought aside, but it nagged at him constantly.
It was only another ten minutes of riding before the team reached the castle. Strangely, they saw no guards, and no more vicious creatures to greet them. Don and Gill looked at each other fearfully.
"I guess they figured no one would make it past the griffin," Gill said hopefully.
"But, c'mon. That wasn't really that hard."
Gill nodded. "True."
"And we do still have to get across the moat," Gill said.
"There is that. Damn. I could work the mechanism, if I was touching the drawbridge, but not from over here."
The team dismounted, and stared across the moat at the raised drawbridge. Don scratched his head, trying to figure out what to do. The Elves, along with Susan, just stood, waiting for instructions.
Gill wandered to both sides of the castle, trying to see if there was another way in. He thought to go to the back of the castle, but found a rather dangerous drop-off there. The moat ended in a waterfall, which made Gill wonder where the hell the water was coming from, but now was not the time for a geology lesson.
As he walked back to the group, he took stock of the equipment they had with them, trying to decide if there was a way they could cross the moat without the drawbridge. It was then that he got an idea.
"Don!" Gill moved quickly toward him. "Do you actually have to touch the drawbridge, or do you just have to have direct contact with it?"
"What's the difference?"
"Let me show you the difference." Gill walked over to his horse and grabbed a length of rope. "Suse, give me one of your arrows." She handed him one, and he tied the rope tightly around the shaft. "This is really going to fuck up your aim, but all you have to do is hit that bridge."
Susan strung the arrow, and held her bow sideways, to avoid the knot of the rope hitting the bow. She aimed, and let loose. The arrow wobbled horribly, but the thrust was strong enough to project it into the drawbridge. Gill picked up the end of the rope, and handed it to Don.
"Here's your direct connection. Now do your magic shit."
Don cocked an eyebrow at him, and then turned back to the drawbridge. He searched his memory for a spell that would work, and then he began his chant. He closed his eyes to concentrate on the imagery, and he felt the rope tighten in his hands. It was almost as if the rope was going to pull the drawbridge down. He continued to chant, and he pulled on the rope. The drawbridge gave a creak, and it inched down. Don pulled on the rope again, and the drawbridge creaked down another inch.
Again and again, Don pulled on the rope, until he couldn't pull it any further. At that point, The drawbridge was close enough that Gill and Susan both grabbed it, and pulled downward. With a resounding slam, the drawbridge fell the remaining six feet. Everyone jumped back, startled.
"You could've warned us, you know," Gill told Don accusingly.
"Only if I'd known it was going to do that," Don said with a smirk. "It's still unpredictable. Okay, Gill, you're the warrior, you get to take point. I'll keep your sister back here with me." Don raised his eyebrows at him, and Gill laughed.
"She'll break your arm if you try anything. Okay, Elves, form up, and let's go!"
The group headed into the castle, with Gill leading, and Don and Susan in the middle. The Elves formed a diamond around them, with Gill at their leading point. They kept their heads turning, and their eyes searching. They didn't like being here, for they knew that Denonia must have thought to guard the castle with something, and that something was bound to be evil, and magical, and Elves didn't particularly like magic at the moment.
The group raced into the heart of the castle, but then they stopped cold. Ahead of them were three Gorks, tall and imposing. And these Gorks did not look nearly as friendly as Malmot had been. It could have been the heavy metal armor they were wearing, or the iron maces with heads the size of basketballs. Don wasn't sure, but he certainly knew that he did not like these Gorks.
The three immense creatures spread out, covering the entire hall. Don could see the Elves quaking beside him.
"Gill? Can you take even one of these guys?"
"Ummm..." Gill temporized.
"That's what I thought. We're in trouble, aren't we?"
"Ummm..." Gill repeated.
"You're not helping matters!" Don cried.
Gill shrugged, and charged the Gork in front of him. The battle cry that left his throat was loud, and galvanized the Elves into action. Don held back, standing beside Susan.
"Do you have an arrowhead that can penetrate that armor?"
"I don't know. Do you have a spell that could make my arrow penetrate that armor?"
"I don't know that, either." The two looked at each other and, despite the situation, laughed. Susan drew an arrow, and aimed it at the Gork on the left. She loosed her arrow, and it buried itself into the Gork's arm. The creature screamed in rage, and swung its mace at the Elves confronting it. The Elves were so short, however, that the Gork missed them entirely. The Elves attacked the creature's shins, which were not protected with metal armor. The beast screamed in pain. Don, seeing that the Elves on the right were not getting help, cast a fire spell on their Gork, which did not destroy the creature's armor, but it made it far too hot to wear. The creature was screaming in pain and rage, attempting to get the armor off, and burning its hands in the process.
One of the Elves used a bolo, and the beast's feet were soon tangled. It fell as it tried to get its armor off. One of the Elves rushed up and plunged his sword right into the monster's skull. Don lifted the spell, so that none of the Elves would be harmed.
Meanwhile, Gill and his group of Elves were holding even with their chosen Gork. They moved in and attacked, and then would move back as the monster swung its deadly club at them. The smaller Elves danced around the Gork, almost taunting him, while Gill faced him square on, his sword at the ready, looking for an opportunity.
In a few moments, Gill got the opportunity he was looking for. The Elves had so enraged the goliath that he swung his mace straight down, trying to crush them. His mace buried itself in the floor stones, and it was stuck. Gill, seeing his chance, rushed forward. He placed his foot on the top of the mace's head, and used it to push himself off in a strong leap.
As Gill's body moved upward, he swung his sword in an arc. The move would have decapitated a smaller being, but the Gork was far too large. The fountain of blood pouring out of its neck, however, indicated that it was mortally wounded. The beast fell, hard, onto the floor with a groan. It didn't move again.
The Elves on the left, with Susan's help, had managed to fell their opponent, as well. The three Gorks lay dead; they were huge corpses, and testament to the fighting skill of the team. Susan moved off to recover her arrows; these were precious, as she was beginning to run low. Don made a note that they needed to get more when they got back to Sheridan.
Now that they had cleared the first layer of defenses, the problem that Don had foreseen came home to roost. Which tower was the queen in? He looked back and forth between the staircases, and then pulled out his scrying crystal. He held it in his hand, dangling from its chain. The crystal moved to the left, indicating the eastern tower. Don nodded, and then he turned to Gill.
Quietly, Don said, "We need to check both towers, but I'm pretty sure she's in this one," he said, motioning to the eastern tower.
"Okay." Turning to Devlin, Gill said, "Take two-thirds of the Elves, and go up the western tower. We will take the rest of the Elves, and try the eastern tower."
"As you wish," Devlin said. He chose his men, and they prepared to make their way up the western staircase. Don nodded to Gill, who then waved the Elves on. Gill took the lead, and Don and Susan took up the rear, with the rest of the Elves in the middle.
The team only made it around the first corner of the stairway before being confronted by their new opponents. These were strange creatures, almost zombies. Their eyes burned with a magical fire, and were sunk deep into their heads. The skin on their body was pulled tight over bones; it was as if the muscle had long ago decayed away beneath the skin. The creatures wore leather armor and helmets, and they screamed in an unholy manner as they began swinging their swords.
Gill let loose with a whoop that drove the Elves forward. Swords flashed back and forth. Don could hardly follow anything that was going on. He kept one eye on the stairway behind them, to make sure nothing would sneak up on them from below. He had to trust Gill to handle these creatures; it was too chaotic for him to attempt to help with magic, and it would have been lunacy for Susan to try a shot in such tight confines.
Don watched as Gill waded into the creatures. His sword flashed from side to side, parrying blows, and then following up with a slash that would either decapitate the creatures or dismember them. Gill and the Elves made it through the first wave, but everyone heard the scream that erupted above them. Looking up, they all saw a new wave of these beings running down the stairs.
Don, seeing a chance to be of help, let loose with a massive magical blast. Ten of the creatures were vaporized in an instant, and two more were put out of action. Gill, seeing that they had the advantage, charged up the stairs, leading the Elves with courage and ferocity that Don had never seen in his friend. The zombie-things were dispatched as they reached a landing. Gill edge around the corner of the landing to look up the remaining stairs, and nearly had his head taken off by a bolt of energy. He leapt back away from the stairs.
Turning to Don, he said, "This is your department!"
Don nodded, and said, "What did you see?"
"Something whizzing at my head! Did you expect me to stick around to examine it?"
Don smiled at him, even though it wasn't really funny. He cast a spell of protection, and then jumped into the stairwell. He was almost hit by another blast of energy, but he managed to slide sideways, and his spell deflected it the rest of the way. The blast sizzled into the wall.
Looking up, Don saw what looked to be a sorcerer, but then he realized he could see through him.
A shade! And a magical one!
Don had to think quickly. Shades were hard to defeat, and there was only one real defense against them: light. Don rapidly began chanting a light spell, but he had to keep dodging the shade's attacks. Finally, he let rip with a blinding flash of light. The Elves behind him cringed at the power of the blast, and the shade above him screamed in terror. The creature went fleeing out a window. Don didn't know where he was going out there, but then, he really didn't care, either.
The team raced up to the final door, only to find it bound with a heavy beam and lock.
"Can you break the lock?" Don asked Gill.
"Are you nuts?"
"Just thought I'd ask..." Don turned back to the lock, and began to chant. This lock was magically protected. He wasn't going to get through it that easily. In fact, another five minutes proved that he wasn't going to get through it at all, on his own.
Just as he was about to give up, a thought occurred to him. He chanted the spell to grab one of his items from the place he hid them. Out of the pouch that materialized, he withdrew the Elf-crystal. The Elves all stepped well back, but Don paid no attention to them.
Leveling the crystal at the door, Don began to chant. He felt the crystal warm in his hands, and at the peak of his spell, the crystal loosed an enormous beam of energy, vaporizing the door in a loud explosion of energy and magic. Don stared, wide-eyed, at the opening, and then decided to walk through it. Gill and the others remained outside, to guard against any more attackers.
Don looked around in the now-dusty room, and coughed. Finally, as some of the dust settled out, he saw Queen Neiela chained to the wall, just as he'd seen in his vision. He walked over to her, and noted that she was unconscious. He wondered if his blast had knocked her out, or if she was so injured that she didn't wake up even after such a large explosion.
Don hesitated to touch her, but finally, he reached out and cupped her cheek. He rubbed her face softly, trying to get her to awaken. Finally, he saw some signs of life. She twitched, at first, trying to get away from his hand. He removed it as she opened her eyes.
"You," she whispered. "I did not expect to see you again. The young lady is well?"
"A little worse for wear, but yes, she is doing fine. She's waiting for us in Sheridan. I didn't want to bring her on this mission."
"You came to rescue me, specifically?"
"Yes. Now, let's try to get you out of these chains."
Don examined the chains and was dismayed to find that they did not even have locks. They had been formed around Neiela's wrists, with the aid of magic. If such steps had been taken to prevent him from freeing her, then his spells would be no match. He pulled out the Elf-crystal again. He saw Neiela's eyes widen, but there wasn't time to explain. He began his chant, and hoped that it would be a little less violent this time.
The crystal apparently understood his concern, as the chains and shackles literally melted away, disintegrating into nothingness without so much as a groan. Neiela collapsed, and Don caught her. She was exhausted, and could not stand on her own.
Don picked up the Elf, and carried her toward the door. As he was walking, she asked, "How is it you come to be in possession of the Elf-crystal?"
"Ask me later," he said. "Right now, we have to worry about getting out of here before Denonia decides to throw something else at us."
Getting out of the castle was far easier than getting in. They were only accosted by another ten of the zombie-things before they made it back outside. Queen Neiela was not strong enough to walk, and so Don continued to carry her. He figured she weighed perhaps as much as sixty pounds. They moved quickly away from the castle, and to where the horses were tied.
Queen Neiela took one look at the creatures, and shuddered. "I can't ride a horse. I certainly can't ride one now."
Don considered for a moment. "You can ride with me, if you like." Queen Neiela nodded. Don helped her up onto the horse, which did not object, and then he climbed up into the saddle himself. He pulled the queen against him, tucking her into his body to keep her from falling off. She didn't object to his handling of her at all, and soon they were ready to ride.
Don turned his horse, and he noticed six riderless horses. Since the Elves were traveling in pairs, it meant they were missing twelve people. Don looked at Gill, who looked back with a nod.
The Elves redistributed themselves so that all of the horses had riders. As the sun began to sink toward the horizon, Don led out at a gallop. He didn't want to be caught in the open after sunset; not after the job they'd just pulled.
The team traveled rapidly until they made it to the edge of the forest. Once there, they slowed their pace. They continued their journey until they reached the meadow in which they had eaten lunch. They were still several hours away from Sheridan, and it was already later than they should be riding. They dismounted and allowed the horses to graze, while they rested and ate.
"How did you kill the griffin?" Neiela asked Don.
"I didn't. Gill did. I hurt it with an energy ball, and then he and the Elves fought it with their swords. He killed it with a thrust to the heart."
"That is... no one has ever killed a griffin before."
"Really? It wasn't that hard."
"Says the guy who was fighting it from a hundred fifty feet away," Gill said good-naturedly.
"Hey, no one told you to dive head-first at the thing!" Don countered. The two laughed. Turning back to the queen, Don asked, "Aren't you awfully young to be a queen?"
"I am twenty-four. My parents were killed by Denonia over a year ago."
"So am I. I don't like ruling, and I'm not very good at it."
Just then, Devlin came up with a mortified look on his face.
"What the hell is the matter now?" Don asked.
"Your majesty," Devlin said, "We've forgotten to bring a shelter for you! I can't believe we didn't consider this! We will make something from the trees..."
Neiela was about to reject that plan when Don started chuckling. Devlin whirled on him. "You find this amusing, Human?"
Don stood up to tower over the Elf. "Don't take that tone with me, you little dickweed. I've had enough of your superiority complex. Maybe you didn't notice, but we won that battle today, and we probably could have done it without your help. I'll only put up with so much of your shit before I kick your ass all the way back to Sheridan. Now, since you've managed to forget your duty to your queen, I will provide her with shelter. Now get the fuck away from me before I actually lose my temper!"
Devlin wilted, and scurried away like a half-drown rat. Don sat back down next to the queen. "Sorry about that, but I was getting a little fed up."
"Some of the Elves do feel that way. The loss of the Elf-crystal has been a serious blow to their national ego. Personally, I think they needed to be taught a lesson. We have depended too much on magic, and not enough on our integrity."
"Yeah, well, I'm just tired of being looked down upon by someone half my size," Don said. "No offense."
"None taken. How, though, will you provide us shelter?"
Don did notice she'd said "us". He ignored it, however. Instead, he brought forth his pack, and unstrapped the package that held their tent. Looking to Gill, he said, "One more time, eh?"
"I hate this tent," he said. They both laughed, and started to erect it. The queen watched with interest, but stayed out of the way. It took them only five minutes this time. Once they'd finished, Don motioned the queen inside, and she gladly accepted. Don, Gill, and Susan accompanied her. They all sat down on their sleeping mats. The queen sat on the mat next to Don, though he had purposely set out two others. Gill started a fire, as the night was growing colder.
"Will that not damage the tent?" the queen asked.
"No, it was designed for this," Don answered. To Gill, he said, "You want first watch, or last?"
"Why not let the Elves stand watch tonight?" Gill asked.
"Because I don't trust them to get it right, that's why."
Everyone noticed the queen did not protest this insult to her people. Gill sighed. "Okay, we'll take first watch."
"Your Elfling did not accompany you. Why?" the queen asked. The two were alone now, as Gill had just left to stand guard.
"This was too dangerous. I didn't want her to get hurt."
"The young woman we brought to you?"
"Is also waiting in Sheridan, along with one other girl. I had to come rescue you, but I wasn't going to risk getting them hurt over it."
"Why did you have to rescue me?" she asked curiously.
"You were the only one I could give the crystal to. Besides, I have a feeling your kidnapping was Denonia's way of punishing you for being nice to us Humans, or perhaps her way of trying to get back at me for something. I couldn't let that go by unanswered."
"I see," she said, her voice soft and quiet. Don yawned, and then he lay down on his mat.
"Anyway, we'll be back in Sheridan around lunch time tomorrow. You might want to get some rest; we'll have to ride out of here early." Don closed his eyes, and was soon asleep. The queen looked at him, and then she stared into the fire, letting it mesmerize her to help drain off the stress of the past days.
Don was awakened by a cry of pain about an hour later. He turned over, and saw the queen holding her leg. Her face was contorted into a grimace of agony. He sat up quickly.
"What's the matter?"
"Leg cramp. I can't straighten it," she said through gritted teeth. Don knew those could be nasty. He also knew that you needed to get the leg straightened in order to ease the pain.
"Let me help." He moved over in front of her, and took her leg into his hands. He began to massage her thigh muscle, working his fingers deftly into her leg. She winced several times as he kneaded the muscle and pulled on her leg. He worked at the knot in her leg, and gently pulled on her calf until the leg was straightened out. Once he'd managed to get her leg straight, he could see that the pain lessened somewhat.
With her leg straight, Don could use both hands to massage her leg, working out the cramp and loosening up the muscle. The pain was easing, and Neiela was finally smiling a little at him. It took him several more minutes of kneading before he felt the muscle loosen completely. He eased off on the strength of his massage, now just rubbing the leg to allow for better circulation, and to make it feel better.
In his concern for her well-being, Don had paid little attention to the position his actions had put the pair in, but now that he was almost done, he noted that Neiela was facing him with her legs spread, and nearly sitting in his lap. Her position had been necessary for him to work out the cramp. He also noticed how close his hands had come to her private areas, and that she had not had even the slightest objection to his motions. He looked into her blue eyes, and found more than just friendship there.
As his hands eased off on their massage of her leg, Neiela pushed herself forward. While she had almost been sitting in Don's lap before, now she was completely there. He smiled down at her as he brushed some of her fine blonde hair out of her face. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and looked up at him.
"That's twice you've helped me out. Three times, if I count having to ride that damned horse."
"Pleasure? Hmmm. I think we can come up with something better for your pleasure." With that, she pulled his head down to kiss him. Their lips met, and Don wrapped his arms around her, gently pulling her against himself. Her tongue slipped out, and against his lips, until he opened his mouth to admit it, and allowed it to slide across his own tongue.
Don began to caress Neiela's back, rubbing the skin through the soft fabric of her tunic. Holding her was like holding a small child, only she had the curves, and obviously the drives, of a woman. Don didn't know how far she wanted him to go, however, and his inherent insecurity meant that he waited for her to lead.
And lead she did. Leaning away from him and breaking their kiss, she wiggled her behind until she got her tunic free of her ass. She then lifted it off her body, exposing her chest to him. She pulled on his robe until it opened enough to allow her to run her hands across his bare chest. She marveled at the feel of his body. Don slowly moved his hands up to cup her tits, gently massaging them. Neiela moaned in pleasure. He lightly brushed his fingers over her nipples, which caused her to inhale sharply at his touch.
Neiela was growing more excited, and her hands pushed more vigorously at Don's robe. "How do you get this damned thing off?" she asked in frustration.
Don chuckled, as he reached down to undo the clasp. In doing so, his hands brushed her inner thighs. She sighed at his touch. He reached around to lift up her ass, so that he could pull his robe open all the way. She helped him, and then settled back down into his lap. He was still wearing his briefs, and she was still wearing her tights, but still, the contact felt more intense.
The two embraced again and kissed for long moments before they felt the need to move on. Finally, Neiela broke their kiss, and slipped off him. She stood up, and then bent over to remove her tights. As she was bending over, Don cupped her cheek with his hand. He ran his fingers up along her ear, noting how they were pointed, like his sister's. He pulled her head down and kissed her again, while he reached out with his other hand to help her remove her tights. It didn't take long before the two had managed to get them off her legs.
Once free of her own clothing, Neiela knelt to pull Don's briefs off. He lifted his hips to help her, and she yanked the offending garment down off his legs. She then returned to gaze at his cock, which was far larger than anything she had ever had inside her. She stroked it a few times, but it was already fully hard.
Neiela straddled Don, and placed the head of his dick at her pussy lips. He brought his hands up to cup her tits again, and squeezed gently, arousing her. She let herself sink downward, pressing his prick into her waiting cunt. She sighed at the full feeling of her body. She had to move slowly, allowing her pussy to accept his size. Don was in heaven, as her cunt gripped his shaft, rippling along it in very sensuous ways.
After a long moment, and several retreats, Neiela was finally fully impaled on Don's cock. She sighed as her hips ground against his. Don slipped his hands around to her back, and pulled her to him. He kissed her hotly, their tongues immediately tangling again. He didn't make any moves, wanting her to be ready, since it was obvious this was a new experience for her.
Neiela did take a minute to adjust, but Don's cock showed no signs of softening. The pulsing of her cunt muscles had kept him quite hard. Eventually, she grew used to the sensation of his large cock, and she began to move, very slowly, on his shaft. Her mind was assaulted by the sheer pleasure of the sensation as she moved up and down on him. Don began to caress her back, letting his hands slip down onto her ass occasionally, and fondle her ass cheeks. Neiela was lost in pleasure.
After a few minutes, Neiela's body had not only adjusted, but was crying for more. She began to slide faster on his dick, squeezing him with her cunt and caressing his chest with her dainty fingers. Their tongues continued to dance, and Don's hands were now resting permanently on her ass, kneading and fondling the flesh beneath his fingers.
Their pace grew more and more frantic, and their kissing stopped as Neiela threw her head back, awash in the ecstasy of the moment. Don was using his hands and his hips to help move her on his dick, and he was marveling at the wonderful tightness of her cunt. Neiela was panting now, occasionally moaning loudly in pleasure. Don continued to fight off his impending climax, because he knew that she, too, was close.
Neiela cried out first, her orgasm washing over her and causing her to thrash her body from side to side. Her cunt began to milk Don's dick, trying to draw his spunk from inside him.
The sensations on his dick were finally too much for Don, and he let loose with a torrent of cum, which splashed up into Neiela's cunt, and drove her even higher into pleasure. Her screams grew louder as Don grunted out his climax. It was a long moment before either of them came down from their high.
Outside the tent, the noises were clearly audible. Devlin made to enter the tent, but Gill stopped him. Devlin looked at him crossly.
"One of the people in there is your queen," Gill said, "and the other possesses the Elf-crystal. Do you really want to piss off either of them by interrupting?"
Devlin looked at him for a moment, and then backed off, going back to the other Elves.
Gill turned to Susan, who had a smirk on her face. "Geez, is there any girl he won't sleep with?" Gill asked her quietly.
"Are you concerned, or just jealous?" Susan asked with a playful look.
Gill walked over to her and hugged her tightly. "You're the only girl I need, Suse." The two kissed hotly, but had to break it off before they grew too passionate. They, unlike their friend, were supposed to be on guard duty.
In the morning, it was clear that Devlin wanted to make an issue out of what had happened the previous night. Neiela, seeing the look on his face, put an end to the conversation before it started.
"Mind your own business, Devlin," she said sternly.
"Yes, Your Majesty."
Don, on the other hand, completely ignored the Elf, who continued to stare daggers at him. He packed up the tent with Gill, and then shared breakfast with the queen. He was fully awake, having stood the last watch on his own. Two of the Elves had stayed awake with him, but he didn't really consider them very helpful.
They were soon mounted, and riding through the forest. The queen again rode with Don. The two chatted about small things as they continued their journey, and the time passed quickly. Soon enough, they were riding into Sheridan. Don was surprised that Denonia had not sent anyone after them. Then again, he figured she might have something else in store for him and his team, and so he would certainly keep his eyes open. At the moment, he allowed himself to be greeted by the cheers of the crowd that welcomed them. He saw the rest of his team standing off to the side, and he waved to them. They all waved back with a smile.
The queen instructed him to take her to a specific building, and he did. Once he dismounted, he helped her down off the horse.
"You still have the Elf-crystal with you, right?" she asked.
"Yes. What is this place?" The building seemed more ornate than the others, and it had three guards in front of it.
"This is the house of the Chamber of Eyes. Come with me."
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